TMZ.com was the first to report the story on Monday.
Leopoldo was apprehended without incident in a strip mall parking lot in Tustin by two plain-clothes officers patrolling the area.
"He was wearing a Long Beach jumpsuit uniform similar to what they use in raids and stuff like that," said Professional Standards Officer Sgt. Jeff Blair. "It had patches on the shoulders. It had a badge in the front and the word ‘Police' across the back, except he was wearing flip-flops and playing with a yo-yo. The undercover officers felt that was strange activity because we didn't have any notification of any outside police activity in the city."
Blair said Leopoldo did not try to identify himself as a police officer and gave conflicting information regarding how he had gotten the uniform. A search of the car, which was not owned by Leopoldo, produced a backpack containing a glass pipe "commonly used to smoke methamphetamine" and a baggie containing "a small amount" of the drug.
Leopoldo was held on $20,000 bail at the Intake/Release Center in Orange County, Calif., and later released.
Leopoldo was later charged with a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana, which was also found in the vehicle, according to Orange County District Attorney spokesman Farrah Emami. Leopoldo was not charged with possession of methamphetamine, as it could not be proven that the drug belonged to the fighter, Emami told Sherdog.com on May 7. Leopoldo was also charged with two misdemeanors for “petty theft of lost property” and “possession of controlled substance paraphernalia,” according to court documents.
Entering the arena carrying a wooden cross on his back, Leopoldo (10-7-1) made an indelible impression on fans in his MMA debut against Royce Gracie at UFC 3 in September 1994. Gracie submitted Leopoldo with an armbar in 4:40, but was put through his paces by the tough, ponytailed Hawaiian and forced to withdraw from the remainder of the tournament.
The performance launched the tattooed-covered fighter’s up-and-down career in the sport, which was highlighted by victories over Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba in 1996 and David "Tank" Abbott at UFC 43 in 2003. Leopoldo holds losses to Ken Shamrock (twice), Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, and Ikuhisa Minowa.
In his last bout, Leopoldo was stopped by Wes Sims (20-11-1, 2 NC) in 3:21 at an Extreme Wars event in October 2006 in Hawaii.
The 41-year-old fighter is no stranger to drugs.
Leopoldo was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for six months in 2004 after he admitted to taking the anabolic steroid stanozolol, as well as the stimulants phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Leopoldo subsequently failed a pre-fight steroids test administered by the California State Athletic Commission in 2006, prior to a proposed bout against Bas Rutten in the World Fighting Alliance.
Leopoldo’s arrest won’t bode well in his bid to become the new Executive Officer of the CSAC, a position that was vacated by Armando Garcia last November.
In his application letter to the Dept. of Consumer Affairs in January, Leopoldo warned about the dangers of drug use.
“I can honestly tell any fighter that tries to use steroids or any other illegal substance that those substances are more of a crutch that will harm their ability to succeed in the industry than an asset that will assist them in moving forward in the industry,” wrote Leopoldo.
This article was revised according to the following correction:
Correction: May 13, 2009
In a Feb. 17, 2009, article titled "Update: Leopoldo Arrested for Methamphetamine," Sherdog reported that UFC veteran Kimo Leopoldo had been arrested "for two felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property." The article stated that "Leopoldo tested positive for methamphetamine at the Tustin Police Department station" and that "a search of the fighter's car" produced "a baggie containing 'a small amount' of the drug." Sherdog's reporting on the matter was based upon a diligent and thorough investigation consistent with the highest journalistic standards, and the referenced information was obtained directly from police sources named in the story. However, Sherdog has since been advised that the information provided to Sherdog by those sources may have been erroneous. Sherdog is now informed that Leopoldo did not test positive for methamphetamine. Sherdog is also now informed that although methamphetamine was found in the car, Leopoldo was not the owner of the vehicle. Accordingly, Leopoldo has been charged only with possession of marijuana.
Update: Feb. 17, 2009
This article was updated at 11:35 a.m. EST with additional information regarding Leopoldo's arrest.